Books And Travel

Jo Frances Penn

Unusual and fascinating places alongside the deeper aspects of travel

All Episodes

Paris has so much to see and do, it can be overwhelming if you try to do it all. In this interview, Cynthia Morris talks about how to visit Paris like an artist and how walking and wandering is a great way to see the city in a more relaxed way. We discuss how to […] The post Slow Down And Wander. Visit Paris Like An Artist With Cynthia Morris appeared first on Books And Travel.

Dec 2

38 min 45 sec

Peter Fiennes talks about his search for beauty — and hope — in Greece. We discuss the different areas of the country with recommendations for ruins to visit, as well as how the ancient Greek myths still resonate in modern times, with their tales of the darker side of humanity.  We consider whether generations of belief […] The post Beauty In Ruins, Dark Myths, And Hope In Difficult Times. Greece With Peter Fiennes appeared first on Books And Travel.

Nov 18

32 min 38 sec

Slovakia only became an independent state in 1993, so it is less than 30 years old. In this interview, Sarah Hinlicky Wilson and I discuss borders and how strange it is that history draws lines on a map that don’t necessarily represent the people who live within them. These layers of invasion and empire can […] The post Layers Of Invasion And Empire. Slovakia With Sarah Hinlicky Wilson appeared first on Books And Travel.

Nov 4

35 min 51 sec

Folklore encompasses legends, fairy tales, and myths; physical objects and practices to protect and ward away evil; spirits and supernatural entities associated with particular places, and so much more. You might not even know that you practice folklore — but did you ever leave a tooth out for the tooth fairy? Or wonder at carvings […] The post English Folklore With Icy Sedgwick appeared first on Books And Travel.

Oct 21

38 min 14 sec

How can you travel light even on an extended trip? How can traveling light be an attitude to life as well as a practical way to pack your gear? Katherine Leamy talks about these questions and more in this episode. Katherine Leamy is The 5 Kilo Traveller, a freelance travel writer, and blogger based in […] The post Traveling Light With Katherine Leamy, The 5 Kilo Traveller appeared first on Books And Travel.

Oct 7

38 min 46 sec

The challenges of travel can help us expand our comfort zone enough to drive change in our lives. In this episode, Karen Espley talks about how a trip to Antarctica helped her change direction. Karen Espley is an author, speaker, and businesswoman. Her latest book is The Impulsive Explorer: One Businesswoman’s Accidental Journey of Self-discovery […] The post Extending Your Comfort Zone. Antarctica With Karen Espley appeared first on Books And Travel.

Sep 23

37 min 51 sec

“It is difficult to speak adequately or justly of London. It is not a pleasant place; it is not agreeable, or cheerful, or easy, or exempt from reproach. It is only magnificent.” Henry James London can never be contained or defined in one way. Everyone has a different perspective and experience that changes over time, and […] The post London. A Personal History With Jo Frances Penn appeared first on Books And Travel.

Sep 9

31 min 2 sec

Some places are so dense with history that stories emerge from every stone. Canterbury in Kent, England, is rich with literary and religious history and you can walk in the footsteps of pilgrims who have visited the city for almost a thousand years. Anna Sayburn Lane is an award-winning short story writer, novelist, and journalist […] The post The History Of England Written In Stone. Literary Canterbury With Anna Sayburn Lane appeared first on Books And Travel.

Aug 26

39 min 25 sec

Sometimes we find home in a place where we don’t even speak the language. Louise Ross talks about discovering Portugal, a gentle country with ocean-gazing people, and recommends places to visit, as well as an attitude to self-reinvention. Louise Ross is the author of Women Who Walk and The Winding Road to Portugal. She’s an […] The post An Ocean-Gazing People. A Gentle Country. Portugal With Louise Ross appeared first on Books And Travel.

Aug 12

43 min 18 sec

How can travel help us as we search for a new direction in mid-life? Why does nature offer us insight into ourselves and experiences that go far beyond the physical? Toby Neal talks about her experience of the US National Parks. Toby Neal is an award-winning USA Today best-selling author of mysteries, thrillers, and romance, […] The post Open Road: A Midlife Journey Through The US National Parks With Toby Neal appeared first on Books And Travel.

Jul 29

39 min 8 sec

Good travel books are not just about a physical journey or a place. They are also about the emotional side of travel and the feelings we experience along the way.  In this interview with Mark Probert, we discuss his motorcycle journey through Britain following the path of writer John Hillaby 50 years after the original […] The post If Only I Had More Time. A Motorcycle Journey Through Britain with Mark Probert appeared first on Books And Travel.

Jul 8

40 min 41 sec

There are places where the ‘veil is thin,’ where we can connect with the Other in the landscape — if only we learn how to listen. In this interview, Jini Reddy talks about how to find magic in the natural world. Jini Reddy is an award-winning author and journalist. Her latest book is Wanderland: A […] The post Wanderland. A Search For Magic In The Landscape With Jini Reddy appeared first on Books And Travel.

Jun 24

37 min 43 sec

What are the truths behind stereotypes of Australia — and what are the things that might surprise you? Pamela Cook talks about rural places, diversity of people and landscape, and the attractions of the city in this interview. Pamela Cook writes rural and contemporary Australian fiction featuring complex women and tangled family relationships and is […] The post Travel In A Vast And Diverse Country. Australia With Pamela Cook appeared first on Books And Travel.

Jun 10

34 min 33 sec

“Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.” Soren Kierkegaard When life becomes unbearably painful, sometimes the only thing to do is go for […] The post Walking To Rome On The Via Francigena With Chandi Wyant appeared first on Books And Travel.

May 27

41 min 40 sec

“We’re all so far downstream from who we used to be.” Pam Mandel We all have ideas about places that are far away from us, but when you talk to real people who live there, it’s hard to hold on to your preconceived notions. Those encounters can remain with you in memory even as you […] The post Travel That Changes The Way You Think About The World With Pam Mandel appeared first on Books And Travel.

May 13

43 min 9 sec

Imagine sailing through the night across the Pacific Ocean with the sound of a gentle wind on the sails, the creak of rigging, and an array of stars above you. Nadine Slavinski talks about the joys and challenges of sailing across the Pacific with her husband and son. Nadine Slavinski is an archaeologist turned teacher […] The post A Speck On The Ocean. Sailing The Pacific With Nadine Slavinski appeared first on Books And Travel.

Apr 29

37 min 51 sec

Experiencing the dark of night can help connect us with nature and perhaps we need to tap into that animal side more often in order to respect the cycle of the seasons, renew our energy and our mental health, and help wildlife that need it to survive. In this interview, we also talk about the […] The post Exploring Darkness And Accepting Our Animal Nature With Tiffany Francis-Baker appeared first on Books And Travel.

Apr 15

36 min 14 sec

What does pilgrimage mean when you don’t adhere to a particular religious tradition? Can we find ever find ourselves when we travel, or will we be forever searching? Victoria Preston has roamed far and wide in her 30 years advising corporate and government clients around the world. She is an associate fellow at the King’s […] The post Journeys In Search Of Ourselves. Secular Pilgrimage With Victoria Preston appeared first on Books And Travel.

Apr 1

41 min 49 sec

Sometimes it’s not the most iconic travel destinations that resonate most with us. Sometimes it’s the hidden places and the unexpected moments that echo in our memories many years later. In this episode, Steve Brock talks about how we can cultivate curiosity and blend serendipity with planning to make the most of our travels, as […] The post Curiosity, Wonder, And Serendipity. Hidden Travel with Steve Brock appeared first on Books And Travel.

Mar 18

40 min 36 sec

Vienna brings to mind images of grand architecture, the sounds of classical music, and the smell of coffee and sacher torte. In this interview with Katarina Bordet, we explore the Gothic and Baroque churches, the museums, and the iconic coffee shops, as well as the darker places to visit — the asylum, the catacombs, and […] The post Cathedrals, Dark History, And Coffee Culture. Vienna With Katharina Bordet appeared first on Books And Travel.

Mar 4

38 min 24 sec

In this episode, we escape to the mountains of the Tibetan Highlands, which lie at the intersection of the Sichuan and Yunan provinces in China, in search of Shangri-La. Shivaji Das talks about the stunning natural beauty in this remote place, and we also discuss the cultural clashes in the region and the people he […] The post Complicated Histories, Sichuan, and Tibet. The Other Shangri-La With Shivaji Das appeared first on Books And Travel.

Feb 18

33 min 25 sec

What does it mean to be a secular pilgrim — when you’re not a Christian, but you love churches, history, beauty, and religious symbolism?  In this episode, Howard Kramer talks about some of the most beautiful places to visit in terms of architecture, as well as natural locations, and how sometimes, the most emotionally resonant […] The post History, Faith, And Beauty. The Complete American Pilgrim With Howard Kramer appeared first on Books And Travel.

Feb 4

44 min 2 sec

How can you see your own country with the eyes of an outsider? How can you follow your curiosity and discover new things about a place you already know? In this interview, Roz Morris talks about finding fragments and tiny miracles while exploring England and how we can experience our own land from a new […] The post Not Quite Lost. Travels Without A Sense Of Direction With Roz Morris appeared first on Books And Travel.

Jan 21

35 min 14 sec

An island nation off the coast of Africa, Madagascar has an incredible diversity of unusual landscapes and wildlife, of which lemurs are the most famous but by no means the only ones! 90% of its flora and fauna are endemic, found nowhere else in the world. While there are some resorts, much of Madagascar is […] The post The Gardens Of Mars. Madagascar With John Gimlette appeared first on Books And Travel.

Jan 7

34 min 36 sec

“Man’s real home is not a house, but the Road, and that life itself is a journey to be walked on foot.” Bruce Chatwin In late October 2020, I walked the Pilgrims’ Way from Southwark Cathedral in London to Canterbury Cathedral in Kent, 182 km/113 miles on foot, alone, carrying my own gear… during a […] The post This Too Shall Pass. Thoughts From The Pilgrims’ Way With J.F. Penn appeared first on Books And Travel.

Dec 2020

31 min 56 sec

From the ice of the glaciers to the black church near the lava fields and on to the steaming hot pools of the blue lagoon, Iceland is a country of stark natural beauty and interesting folklore. In this interview, Michael Ridpath talks about the hidden people, the trolls, and the ghosts in the mist, as […] The post Lava Fields, Trolls, And The Hidden People. Iceland with Michael Ridpath appeared first on Books And Travel.

Dec 2020

38 min 7 sec

From the stunning Northern Lights of Lofoten, to the fjords of the western coast, scenic train journeys across the mountains, Viking history, and the culture of the cities, David Nikel evokes a country that has much to explore. In this pandemic year, I’m certainly dreaming of kayaking the fjords! David Nikel is a British writer […] The post Fjords, Vikings And The Northern Lights. Norway With David Nikel appeared first on Books And Travel.

Nov 2020

39 min 15 sec

“The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book … it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tell every day.” Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi The Mississippi River runs through ten states and has brought life to countless generations, from […] The post Life On The River. The Mississippi River Valley With Dean Klinkenberg appeared first on Books And Travel.

Nov 2020

45 min 27 sec

“All that lives must die, passing through nature to eternity.” William Shakespeare, Hamlet If you enjoy walking in cemeteries, exploring graveyards, and discovering the artistic bone structures of ossuaries, then you’ll love this interview with Loren Rhoads. We discuss our mutual love of these places where nature often reigns in peace and beauty, and share […] The post Life Obsessed. Cemeteries, Graveyards And Ossuaries With Loren Rhoads appeared first on Books And Travel.

Oct 2020

43 min 19 sec

“It’s not the mountain we conquer, it’s ourselves.” Edmund Hillary As I write this, I’ve started four ultra-marathons and finished three of them. I did the Race to the Stones 100km in a weekend (2016); Cotswold Way 50km (2017); Isle of Wight 50km (2018 — I dropped out at 22km); Chiltern Challenge 50km (2020). I’ve […] The post Walk Your Own Race: Lessons Learned From Walking A 50km Ultramarathon appeared first on Books And Travel.

Oct 2020

37 min 4 sec

If you spend years planning your dream trip, what happens when life gets in the way? Do you change your plans or do you plow on regardless? Is the journey more important than the destination, and are you living in a way that honors that choice? In this wide-ranging interview with Doug Walsh, we talk […] The post Facing Fears And Changing Your Mind While Traveling. Cycling Around The World With Doug Walsh appeared first on Books And Travel.

Oct 2020

47 min 16 sec

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” Ibn Battuta Mallorca is a beautiful Spanish island in the Balearics, rich with history and culture, from the medieval architecture of Palma’s old town to the picturesque coastal village of Deia and the mountainous interior. Many come to the relaxed island for an […] The post Murder In Paradise. Mallorca With JJ Marsh appeared first on Books And Travel.

Oct 2020

35 min 9 sec

“Man’s real home is not a house, but the Road, and life itself is a journey to be walked on foot.” Bruce Chatwin Walking for a longer-distance can bring clarity of mind, a reconnection with nature, and a sense of well-being that does not emerge with a short stroll. It takes time to settle into […] The post Solo Long-Distance Walking In England With Holly Worton appeared first on Books And Travel.

Sep 2020

42 min 56 sec

If you look below the surface of an ancient city, you can travel through time and find its deeper layers. In this episode, David Morrell talks about how he researched Victorian London for his historical mysteries about Thomas De Quincey, and how he brought to light the “chasms and sunless abysses” of the first British […] The post History As A Fine Art. Victorian London With David Morrell appeared first on Books And Travel.

Sep 2020

36 min 35 sec

Bath is known for its ancient Roman spa, medieval abbey, and sweeping Georgian terraces. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site in Somerset in the south-west of England and visitors often come on a circular cultural trip that takes in Stonehenge and Stratford-on-Avon. But it’s not all Jane Austen bonnets, Regency dresses, and afternoon tea — […] The post Druids, Freemasons and Frankenstein. The Darker Side of Bath, England appeared first on Books And Travel.

Aug 2020

33 min 5 sec

In this wide-ranging interview with Ben Aitken, we talk about challenging cultural stereotypes, identifying as the ‘Other,’ and how to find beauty in the ordinary, as well as thoughts on where to visit and what to eat and drink when visiting Poland. Ben Aitken is a freelance writer, playwright, and the author of three travel […] The post Finding Beauty In The Ordinary. A Different Side Of Poland With Ben Aitken appeared first on Books And Travel.

Aug 2020

32 min 6 sec

The word Kosovo brings to mind images of the Balkan War — a place of blood — but Elizabeth Gowing talks about it as a place of sweetness, a place of honey with wonderful food, welcoming people and a complex patchwork of religion that manages to get along together in a tiny country. She also […] The post Travels In Blood And Honey. Kosovo With Elizabeth Gowing appeared first on Books And Travel.

Jul 2020

36 min 35 sec

Adventure is a mindset. You can find it in a pocket of wilderness in your local area just by doing something different and seeking out the unusual — or you can find it by running Great Britain barefoot, cycling the Andes, and running the length of New Zealand! In this interview, adventurer Anna McNuff talks […] The post A Pocket Of Wilderness: Adventure Travel With Anna McNuff appeared first on Books And Travel.

Jul 2020

34 min 56 sec

The word Ararat brings to mind an adventure into myth and history and in this episode, I talk to Rick Antonson about his journey to the fabled resting place of Noah’s Ark, as well as some of the research into Biblical history and ancient myths of the flood. My ARKANE thrillers center around Biblical archaeology, […] The post Full Moon Over Noah’s Ark. Ararat With Rick Antonson appeared first on Books And Travel.

Jun 2020

46 min 38 sec

Great cathedrals are places of awe and wonder, no matter your religious belief. Whenever I visit a new place, I always go to the cathedral or church, or place of worship in the area. There is always something new and interesting to be found and you can get a particular sense of a region that […] The post Pilgrimage. The Architecture Of Faith With Derry Brabbs appeared first on Books And Travel.

Jun 2020

38 min 49 sec

Would you cycle across Europe on a ‘sit up and beg’ bike with little experience and no map reading skills? Helen Moat talks about how her adventure unfolded in an inspiring interview that will have you reaching for the guide books and considering where you could travel next. Helen Moat is an author and freelance […] The post A Time Of Birds: Cycling Across Europe To Istanbul With Helen Moat appeared first on Books And Travel.

May 2020

34 min 7 sec

There are certain places in the world that are so full of stories, they become ‘catnip for a novelist,‘ as Layton Green talks about in this interview. We delve into the lure of far-off cities, why the occult draws us both, and how to turn a trip to a new place into a book. In […] The post Catnip For A Novelist. Traveling For Book Research With Thriller Author Layton Green appeared first on Books And Travel.

May 2020

36 min 44 sec

“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” Galileo Galilei So much of the joy of travel is eating and drinking and I certainly love to try local wines when I visit new places! In this interview, Caro Feely talks about why she and her husband gave up successful careers to take on a rundown vineyard […] The post The Taste Of Place. French Vineyard Life With Caro Feely appeared first on Books And Travel.

Apr 2020

32 min 19 sec

Hello travelers, I’m Jo Frances Penn and in today’s episode, I talk to Angelina Kalahari about Namibia in southwest Africa. We recorded the interview a few months back as I tend to batch my interviews and so it was well before the coronavirus changed our perspective on world travel. But perhaps in difficult times, it’s […] The post Desert Nights, The Skeleton Coast And The Cry Of The Fish Eagle. Namibia With Angelina Kalahari appeared first on Books And Travel.

Apr 2020

40 min 9 sec

As I write this in the middle of March 2020, the world is gripped by the spread of coronavirus COVID19. Countries are shutting their borders, people are asked to stay indoors, shelter in place and self-quarantine inside. Restaurants, bars, gyms, schools, and other public places are closing. Airlines are on the verge of going bust […] The post Sanctuary, Retreat, Belonging. The Importance Of Home In Difficult Times appeared first on Books And Travel.

Mar 2020

12 min 58 sec

Travel can be about place, but it can also be about time, and in this interview, I talk to Alison Morton about how the ancient Roman empire continues to inspire her alternate-history Roma Nova thrillers. Alison Morton is the author of the Roma Nova series, Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with tough heroines. Show notes The […] The post The Roman Empire And Alternate History With Alison Morton appeared first on Books And Travel.

Mar 2020

40 min 40 sec

Mumbai is a fascinating city with diversity in religion and architecture, and in this interview, Vikram Chandra talks about the colonial impact of the Portuguese and British, as well as the Zoroastrian, Muslim, Hindu and Christian holy places in the city. It’s also a feast for the senses, as Vikram evokes the taste of seafood […] The post Bhel Puri On The Beach, The Gateway To India, And Bollywood. Mumbai With Vikram Chandra appeared first on Books And Travel.

Feb 2020

38 min 5 sec

Sometimes we can only find our true selves by leaving everything we thought we wanted behind. Matt Buchman was a successful business consultant, but when he lost everything, he set off to cycle around the world. It was a way to escape his old life, but also to find a new path. In this interview, […] The post Cycling Around The World With ML Buchman appeared first on Books And Travel.

Feb 2020

50 min 1 sec

In today’s episode, we’re heading for the Northern Territory of Australia as Dr. Amanda Markham talks about some of the Aboriginal Dreaming stories of the area and how the vast landscape impacts living and working there, as well as the best places to visit if you’re traveling. Amanda is of Wiradjuri Aboriginal descent and speaks […] The post Sacred Australia And The Northern Territory With Amanda Markham appeared first on Books And Travel.

Jan 2020

40 min 26 sec

What would you do if you only had a short time to live? Most people have some kind of travel on their bucket list, and when Susi Holliday had a near-miss in the London terror attacks, she decided to head off on a round-the-world trip. Her experience on the Trans-Siberian Express resulted in a crime […] The post Traveling On The Trans-Siberian Express Across Mongolia And Russia With SJI Holliday appeared first on Books And Travel.

Jan 2020

42 min 7 sec